Owners of noisy dogs

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that your dog does not create a nuisance that affects other people, for example by excessive barking or digging. Understanding why your dog is barking and what you can do to stop it may prevent complaints being made about it.

Reasons for dogs barking

Dogs bark for many reasons. However if your dog is barking a lot, some causes might be:

  • lack of exercise
  • loneliness and boredom (particularly if chained up for long periods)
  • lack of a suitable sleeping area and shelter
  • flies, fleas, worms or some other ailment
  • hunger or thirst
  • attention seeking
  • protecting territory
  • isolation.

Preventing barking

Each dog is different, and so it their reason for barking, but there are some things that might help to keep your dog quiet.

Some things you can try include:

  • Exercise your dog regularly. Dogs prefer to go for a walk or play a game with you than be left alone. If you exercise your dog daily at the same time, it is more likely to wait quietly until then.
  • Socialise your dog. When walking your dog, let it meet other people, especially neighbours and other dogs. Take it to exercise areas and let it play with other dogs. By socialising your dog, it will be less likely to bark at neighbours and people, or other dogs passing by your property.
  • If your dog comes inside at night and is then shut out during the day, it may bark because it has been separated from an area it wants to protect or be in. You could fit a dog door so the dog can go inside and out and then close internal doors to stop your dog from going into certain rooms.
  • Provide your dog with a warm comfortable kennel in the winter and a cool shady place in the summer and make sure it always has fresh water available.
  • Provide things for your dog to do in your absence. Food, rewards and toys will keep dogs mentally stimulated and occupied while their owners are away.
  • Give your dog something that has your scent on it. This will reassure the dog that you are coming back.
  • Feed your dog before you leave in the morning. A lot of dogs will lie quietly while their meal digests.
  • Check your dog for fleas regularly, ensure it is kept free of worms and maintain the animal’s overall physical and mental health. Regular vet checks are recommended for advice and appropriate treatments.

Complaints to council

If we receive a complaint about your dog barking, we will contact you to provide advice and see if there is a solution that can help reduce the nuisance that your dog is causing. This includes providing further information that may assist you, and assistance to find an anti-barking collar, which can help stop them from barking.

We can also guide you to seek assistance from your vet or a professional animal behaviourist, to get advice about specific possible treatments.

We will not take enforcement action unless the problem persists after we have made efforts to assist you.

If our animal control officers find that your dog is causing a nuisance, and you do nothing to prevent it, you may be issued with an infringement notice and a fine of $314 under the Dog Control Act 2000. You may also be given an ‘Abatement Notice’, which means you have to stop the barking or other nuisance within a specified time. If you don’t, Council may prosecute you in the Magistrates Court and you could receive a fine of up to $785. The court may also make specific orders relating to the dog.

Remember, excessive barking could mean your dog is suffering, so it is in everyone’s interests that you try and control the problem.

(See more information on our page for neighbours of noisy dogs)

General tips about barking

  • It is not natural or normal for dogs to bark a lot.
  • If dogs bark a lot they are not good watchdogs as people will disregard barking as a warning
  • Some dogs don’t bark when you are at home but bark when you are out. Dogs left alone at home often bark as they are lonely anxious or bored.
  • A second dog will probably not reduce the barking, and may add to it.
  • Yelling at or hitting a dog for barking is not ok. Yelling makes it seem like loud noises are acceptable and hitting gives the dog the attention that it wants (even though it is unpleasant attention).